Employee Satisfaction Surveys – The Employee Perspective – Donna Eastwood, B.A.

Once a company has decided to move forward with an Employee Satisfaction or Engagement Survey, it is particularly important to consider the employees’ perspective as to their impressions of why and how the survey is being conducted.

The company wants and needs honest results so to achieve this, there are several factors to keep in mind. Since so much lies In the outcome of the survey,  without an honest and candid response from these survey participants, the entire process could be flawed and for naught. 
The first consideration is that the employee understands the company has an appreciation of their efforts and values their thoughts – which is why the company is asking for their opinion in the first place. Only they can provide the insight and the input.  As part of the initial stages of the survey process, a well described memo needs to be issued to cover these thoughts and to let them know the respect that management has for their opinions.   A properly conducted survey under these circumstances then becomes one of the most important tools in the on-going two way communication between management and employees.
The second important point for an employee is why the survey is being conducted. The company must make their objective clear whether it is to set a benchmark prior to undertaking a particular employee oriented initiative,  measure the progress since the last survey or checking on working conditions.
To give authenticity to the survey it must be conducted in a professional manner and be completely confidential. If employees feel that their responses can be identified then it ruins the credibility of the survey. Employees may feel targeted and will not respond honestly or at all …anonymity is key.
In today’s multilingual work environment, making clear any communications in the languages of all the employees is particularly important….translating objectives of the survey along with the translation of questions  and subsequent feedback will ensure greater participation, accuracy and positive feedback.  For the situation where the employee is unable to understand the written or spoken word then a translator should be engaged as an unbiased assist to get the employees true opinions and feelings.
The final phase of the survey process is perhaps the most important activity of all. To maintain employee confidence, the company must supply the results, feedback and action. The greatest downfall of a survey is to not provide your staff with the results, feedback and follow through. This makes the survey to appear a waste of time, that their opinions aren’t valued or worse still that the company had no intention of doing anything with the information. 
Engaging employees from the very beginning is a critically  important consideration of assuring the efforts and investment in the survey generates the most accurate feedback.  When a company has decided to move forward with a survey and has set their objective, the best way to have a meaningful Employee Engagement Survey is to make sure the employees are Engaged.
Donna Eastwood, B.A.
HR/IR Satellite Inc.
More information on Employee Satisfaction Surveys.